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Son of Nor

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#41 ChrisPolus   Members   -  Reputation: 285

Posted 02 December 2012 - 08:01 AM

Oops, I just see I might have missed posting Dev Diary #12 here? Strange I was sure I did it. Please go here to catch up, sorry.

On to Dev Diary #13! It's tutorial time in the development of Son of Nor. While we're working on completely revamping The Edge once again, Julian took on the task of blocking out the tutorial part of the game. It's everything but pretty but the goal of this exercise is not to look good but to program all the stuff that needs to work in this level in order to gently introduce players to the game mechanics. Maybe we'll distribute this tutorial as an early game demo for some testers to try out! Stay tuned.
  • We've thrown away the old Edge because we completely screwed up our scales. The character was extremely tiny and everything was so huge. We'll have a conference call on Monday where we need to define a new workflow to get scales right once and for all so everybody knows how big things should be. Standards are so effin' important. Why haven't we seen this coming?
  • Julian created a functional blockout of Son of Nor's tutorial. Functional means that stuff works and game mechanics are programmed. The layout of the map can and should be changed to make the tutorial more interesting. So the next step would be handing off this tutorial to our level designer who adds more interesting paths, lengthens or shortens sections, and then distributes assets to our env artists.
  • We're happy to announce we have a new team member (still in his trial period), who might take over level design and lead environment artist. That would be really cool. We wish him all the best! He's got some great experience from past game projects and already made several suggestions to our workflow.
  • This diary also features the best MANUAL CAMERA SHAKES ever seen in a video game!

VOTE FOR US! It's IndieDB Game of the Year 2012 time. If you like our project, please go here and click to vote for Son or Nor! Thanks so much :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7_sTjzF8oU

Edited by ChrisPolus, 02 December 2012 - 08:13 AM.

http://about.me/ChrisPolus - my website, music, sound design, videos and services.

I'm the
- producer of Son of Nor (devlog on gamedev.net)
- sound designer of the Arcan Chronicles

Sponsor:

#42 ChrisPolus   Members   -  Reputation: 285

Posted 02 December 2012 - 08:03 AM

I somehow double posted and couldn't delete this post anymore, sorry.

Edited by ChrisPolus, 02 December 2012 - 08:09 AM.

http://about.me/ChrisPolus - my website, music, sound design, videos and services.

I'm the
- producer of Son of Nor (devlog on gamedev.net)
- sound designer of the Arcan Chronicles

#43 ChrisPolus   Members   -  Reputation: 285

Posted 10 December 2012 - 03:01 AM

We literally have nothing to show from WITHIN the game as we were busy discussing fundamental game mechanics this week. I don't know if this is good or bad, discussing fundamental things after such a long time of development. But our game controls are not that common so we lack references and can only test if something works when we implement and really test it. And after some testing it dawned on us that our current magic system controls are complicated even in its current form and doesn't integrate well into the world and lore as a whole.

And that's what happened this week. We set out - again - discussing the problem of the magic system and looking for a solution. We recorded some of the discussions in this week's dev diary.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ucBb62zwEVw
http://about.me/ChrisPolus - my website, music, sound design, videos and services.

I'm the
- producer of Son of Nor (devlog on gamedev.net)
- sound designer of the Arcan Chronicles

#44 ChrisPolus   Members   -  Reputation: 285

Posted 11 December 2012 - 08:16 AM

Hey, hooray, Son of Nor made it to the TOP 100 "Indie of the Year 2012" projects on IndieDB.
Posted Image
Please support us, go here and vote for Son of Nor Posted Image It's much appreciated Posted Image
http://about.me/ChrisPolus - my website, music, sound design, videos and services.

I'm the
- producer of Son of Nor (devlog on gamedev.net)
- sound designer of the Arcan Chronicles

#45 ChrisPolus   Members   -  Reputation: 285

Posted 16 December 2012 - 04:56 AM

OK, we're back with some actual in-game footage!
  • Julian's been busy creating a blockout of a new area. The "Sand Temple" is located below The Edge.
  • We have 2 puzzles working down there that slowly introduce you to the concept of telekinesis and how the world works.
  • We have a new team member and he's a work horse! He creates awesome concepts and constantly asks for more work. I don't know where to take it from since we have to discuss things carefully before giving it for concepting and building. Ha ha. Luxury problems.
  • The scarab bug concepts are from our new artist, the statue concept is from our long-time member Olivia.
  • Don't miss out on Julian's cyclops.
Also, we're still running for Indie of the Year 2012 here on IndieDB! Vote for us! Thanks Posted Image

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvAs0AAqVf8
http://about.me/ChrisPolus - my website, music, sound design, videos and services.

I'm the
- producer of Son of Nor (devlog on gamedev.net)
- sound designer of the Arcan Chronicles

#46 ChrisPolus   Members   -  Reputation: 285

Posted 23 December 2012 - 04:53 AM

A lot to talk about this week. First of all a HUGE thank you to everybody that voted for us on IndieDB! We made it into the top upcoming games of 2012 in the category role playing! That's so great!

 

Also:

- We changed controls in the game to make combat more fluent. Instead of picking up items with telekinesis one after another players can now lift a number of items in reach at once to shoot using telekinesis. Players can't move while lifting multiple items, so this convenience comes at a cost. We'll see if this works out over time.

- A Sarahul having a bow and shooting arrows is still in the works. But we implemented the AI for arrow shooting enemies.

- Dynamic terrains and enemies are a challenge. But now enemies take terraforming into account. When players terraform in front of them, enemies will run up the hill or run around to get a clear shot at players again.

- Pathfinding now also takes terraforming into account.

- The Edge has a new, smaller town area. It helps keeping our assets under control and not have to make huge structures. It's still in rough blockout stage though.

- At the end, there's an alien space ship. Or a giant blinking christmas tree. Depending on what you believe in. Merry Christmas everybody!

 

Thank you all for a fantastic year. All the best for your projects, games and ideas and see you all in 2013.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IH0OHoDXKW8


Edited by ChrisPolus, 23 December 2012 - 05:00 AM.

http://about.me/ChrisPolus - my website, music, sound design, videos and services.

I'm the
- producer of Son of Nor (devlog on gamedev.net)
- sound designer of the Arcan Chronicles

#47 ChrisPolus   Members   -  Reputation: 285

Posted 06 January 2013 - 09:13 AM

Happy New Year everybody!

Probably the biggest news in 2013 is that we started to pay our first members! This means we left the path of a hobby project and show especially our members that we're serious about this project! We won a governmental boost in Austria for our project and the business plan and we started to send that money to our artists. From now on, 2 people get paid for working at stillalive studios, and 1.5 will be added to the payroll next month. That's great as well as terrifying...

What happened in game development:
  • Our main character gets a new rig and we hope to finally implement the new main character model into the game. We know the current one with its animations looks awful!
  • Daniel, one of our concept and 3D artists modeled a bug he concepted a few weeks back (see our image library for these concepts).
  • Julian implemented the bugs and added crowd behaviour. Bugs don't yet have any animation though, they just slide on the ground, but it's barely visible.
  • We're working on a closed alpha where we will send an early demo to a very small amount of people to get early feedback on the controls.
Thank you members and fans for a fantastic year last year. We're all looking forward to what'll happen in 2013.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBQKIvHPFqk

Edited by ChrisPolus, 06 January 2013 - 09:30 AM.

http://about.me/ChrisPolus - my website, music, sound design, videos and services.

I'm the
- producer of Son of Nor (devlog on gamedev.net)
- sound designer of the Arcan Chronicles

#48 ChrisPolus   Members   -  Reputation: 285

Posted 13 January 2013 - 05:42 AM

This week we're visiting a topic we haven't visited in a while. Sound. Sound is incredibly important for a great atmosphere. Even a slight wind breeze adds a feeling of space and location. So let's see what I've been able to implement in the past week. Also, we reached a milestone with our character. It's implemented and it works with Mecanim, Unity 4's new animation system. Even though the standard animations that come with Mecanim are not suited for our needs but, see for yourself...

  • Improved visuals and added new rocks to the tutorial area.
  • Developed sounds for a falling drawbridge, wooden objects collide with other objects, counterweight chain mechanism, arrow trap training mechanism, arrow flyby, walk into plant rustles. More sounds were created but are not properly implemented in the game yet.
  • For certain sounds to start playing we implemented a special collider that triggers sound events as soon as a collision with a specific other object is detected.
  • Rigged and skinned the main character and connected it to the Mecanim animation system.
  • Imported the main character into the game. Colors and textures are missing and a part of the clothes, too, though.
  • Implemented help system for the tutorial.

The first week has now passed in which several of our members work full-time on this project. Predictably this led to certain tensions regarding roles and competencies. This is such an important aspect of any team that this cannot be overemphasized. Pro tip: It's mega-important to talk about tensions as soon as possible, before they get insurmountable. And about role definitions and competencies.

[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MS5c2AuKuQc"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MS5c2AuKuQc[/url]


Edited by ChrisPolus, 13 January 2013 - 05:45 AM.

http://about.me/ChrisPolus - my website, music, sound design, videos and services.

I'm the
- producer of Son of Nor (devlog on gamedev.net)
- sound designer of the Arcan Chronicles

#49 ChrisPolus   Members   -  Reputation: 285

Posted 20 January 2013 - 04:25 AM

We made a huge jump in the past couple of weeks. Several artists finished their work and we could put in many things at the same time. You've seen the new visuals and rocks we have in our tutorial level. We've got more of that this week. But we also thought it would be super fun to develop a story around this week's dev diary. So we dove into the game's lore and came up with a narrator that utters a promise towards the Sarahul. And we illustrated that promise he makes with our new visuals and places we have in the game. We all worked very hard to get to this state and we're very happy how it turned out.

 
Of course this is still pre-alpha work. Everything you see is heavily being worked on. We still have issues with the character, dynamic cloth, hairs, animations, there are lots of other construction sites as well. But we felt like celebrating what we achieved so far. Especially if you take a look where we came from just a few months ago!
  • Nearly completed the tutorial level and help subtitles.
  • Completed the cave section and added light shafts to holes in the ceiling.
  • Added new lighting to the tutorial level with a sunlight and 3 fill lights to create atmosphere and mood.
  • Added sounds to a door with a timing mechanism to learn one of the game's controls.
  • Added sounds to a pack of scarab bugs.
  • Implemented the real model for the drawbridge and the timing mechanism button door.
  • Implemented a rock nerved with crystal chunks that will have a special gameplay role in the game.
  • Added the main character with hair, re-targeted run forward animation, and dynamic cloth.
  • Added camera shake controller that shakes the camera on gameplay evens such as the drawbridge fall down (I don't need to simulate this manually with the mouse anymore ;)
  • Many more little additions, fixes, and programming features.
  • We continued work on an AWESOME dynamic wind system that makes grass and other things shake realistically in the wind.
We're going to wrap up the tutorial and give it out to a closed group of testers to get their feedback on the controls and the tutorial level in the next 2-3 weeks. And now enjoy this dev diary special edition smile.png
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pL42M7YfjoE

Edited by ChrisPolus, 20 January 2013 - 04:26 AM.

http://about.me/ChrisPolus - my website, music, sound design, videos and services.

I'm the
- producer of Son of Nor (devlog on gamedev.net)
- sound designer of the Arcan Chronicles

#50 ChrisPolus   Members   -  Reputation: 285

Posted 27 January 2013 - 05:56 AM

This week we show you clips about what lighting can do to your scenes, what's up with magic crystals (which will play a role in the game) and a preview of the updated magic system. Apparently you also get a glimpse of me doing some stupid looking moves in my studio to show animators how I think the character should move. For this, I'll seriously consider hitting Julian next time I'm in Innsbruck. *Sigh, why do I have to release the dev diaries and humiliate myself? Srly.

  • See the difference in lighting from before and after.
  • We have 1 sunlight and 2 fill lights, one from the directly opposite direction of sunlight.
  • To specifically touch up areas we use spherical lights where needed.
  • We integrated magic crystals that'll play a role in puzzle solving and fights.
  • Updated magic system to improve usability in fights.

Thanks for not telling anybody how stupid I look...

blog-devdiary20.jpg


Edited by ChrisPolus, 27 January 2013 - 06:07 AM.

http://about.me/ChrisPolus - my website, music, sound design, videos and services.

I'm the
- producer of Son of Nor (devlog on gamedev.net)
- sound designer of the Arcan Chronicles

#51 ChrisPolus   Members   -  Reputation: 285

Posted 03 February 2013 - 10:56 AM

Not everything we start working on is a big hit from the get go. But of course, you knew that already.
This week, we had some of the more funny fails.

 

  • We implemented a splash screen / loading screen / game menu. That wasn't a fail, actually.
  • We bought some animations and integrated them. Don't look 100% cool either! What's going on with this animation stuff??!! Argh, can it be so hard?
  • Ragdolls! The rubber man returns. Or alternatively: Our ragdoll model shows what you might get if you answer spam mails in your inbox that promise "enlargment services".
  • For those with claustrophobia. Use the telekinetic blast we implemented if surrounded by enemies. It might be a little bit too powerful.

 

 

There's also a new image of modular cave pieces we did this week. They'll probably be shown in next week's episode if we manage to integrate them into the game.

 


http://about.me/ChrisPolus - my website, music, sound design, videos and services.

I'm the
- producer of Son of Nor (devlog on gamedev.net)
- sound designer of the Arcan Chronicles

#52 ChrisPolus   Members   -  Reputation: 285

Posted 06 February 2013 - 08:17 AM

Here's a new model that came out of our modeling pipeline: a Sarahul bow and dagger. Everything the Sarahul have is pointy, like their eye slits. It's a big part of their overall design and art style.

 


http://about.me/ChrisPolus - my website, music, sound design, videos and services.

I'm the
- producer of Son of Nor (devlog on gamedev.net)
- sound designer of the Arcan Chronicles

#53 ChrisPolus   Members   -  Reputation: 285

Posted 08 February 2013 - 01:32 AM

We're not quite happy with the main character yet. It'll get a new head. The body is fine, but it will probably be used more on townsfolk with toned down colors.

 

Daniel created a new clothing concept for us, which will be created and implemented in the next cycles.

 


http://about.me/ChrisPolus - my website, music, sound design, videos and services.

I'm the
- producer of Son of Nor (devlog on gamedev.net)
- sound designer of the Arcan Chronicles

#54 ChrisPolus   Members   -  Reputation: 285

Posted 10 February 2013 - 03:02 AM

Finished developing a plant randomizer this week. There is a cave system in our tutorial level with plants in it. Every plant looked the same and so the cave looked super sterile. We ended up making variations of the plant in slightly different stages of development. And a script that took a random model of the plant variations, rotated them and scaled them a little and now every plant looks differently.

 

Here's what it looks like. It's a little bit dark though.



http://about.me/ChrisPolus - my website, music, sound design, videos and services.

I'm the
- producer of Son of Nor (devlog on gamedev.net)
- sound designer of the Arcan Chronicles

#55 ChrisPolus   Members   -  Reputation: 285

Posted 10 February 2013 - 10:37 AM

It was a very busy week!

  • Julian left for holidays so he worked double shifts.
  • We implemented animation concepts to better judge how animations feel in the game. Does this animation for that activity look good? Or does it look lame if watched 100 times?
  • Rough animations for terraforming, telekinesis, area telekinesis, telekinesis throw were implemented. These animations will be replaced by smoother animations as soon as we know how they should look like.
  • Fire fairies indicate that you stored a fire element and have it active. Don't worry, they're only temporary and will be replaced by a better effect.
  • Logic behind the magic system was programmed. We changed the mechanics slightly for better playability and fun in combat.
  • We're testing the new mechanics with fire magic and implemented a fire blast and enhancing objects with fire magic.
  • Rocks enhanced with fire magic explode. A little too violently.
  • Sarahul now ragdoll, too, when they die.
  • Sarahul lose balance when you terraform under them. For too long in the current build.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uei4wfBboS8


http://about.me/ChrisPolus - my website, music, sound design, videos and services.

I'm the
- producer of Son of Nor (devlog on gamedev.net)
- sound designer of the Arcan Chronicles

#56 ChrisPolus   Members   -  Reputation: 285

Posted 17 February 2013 - 11:38 AM

We played a lot of multiplayer matches this week to record footage to our brand new video overview. The video shows what Son of Nor is about and what players can expect from the game.

What do you think?

After playing all those matches we ended up with a long list of things to fix and improve and Julian did a lot of that already. Namely:

 

  • fixed movement issues
  • fixed crosshair issues
  • scarabs are now easier to target
  • added level-restart functionality: command "restartLevel"
  • fire enhancement lasts forever now
  • fixed issues with disappearing fire fairies
  • telekinesis movement is now faster
  • levitating objects are avoiding any kind of rotation
  • fixed multiplayer bugs
  • reworked entire TK damage system: mass has more influence now
  • todo: give enemies an aggro system
  • todo: give enemies waypoints to follow
  • todo: make TK objects transparent when in front of the player for better aiming

 

Don't forget to go HD!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtR3YfZjI04


Edited by ChrisPolus, 17 February 2013 - 11:43 AM.

http://about.me/ChrisPolus - my website, music, sound design, videos and services.

I'm the
- producer of Son of Nor (devlog on gamedev.net)
- sound designer of the Arcan Chronicles

#57 ChrisPolus   Members   -  Reputation: 285

Posted 24 February 2013 - 12:22 PM

We try to explore the visual style of Son of Nor further this week.

 

 

We now hear several comments after being featured in the press that our game's visuals look old and dated. Is it the visuals? Or is it our unfinished animations? Or what is it? We realize that we cannot compete with top notch AAA teams that have dozens of pro artists. We only have 4! But then, how do we convey that we're an indie team that would like to make an awesome game that also looks great? What style would fit our game, be fun, and be achievable for a team like ours with a reasonable amount of time? Others in our team think we CAN compete on visuals and are working on proving it. Exciting times...


For this week, we put together some styles real quick. Which one do you think looks great? We'd like to hear your opinion to help us in our internal discussion. After all we're making the game for gamers, not only for our personal pleasure :)

 

So, after you've watched our Dev Diary, we invite you to voice your opinion here: Facebook Poll


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wahW3n3jko

Of course, you can also voice your opinion here. We're listening!


http://about.me/ChrisPolus - my website, music, sound design, videos and services.

I'm the
- producer of Son of Nor (devlog on gamedev.net)
- sound designer of the Arcan Chronicles

#58 ChrisPolus   Members   -  Reputation: 285

Posted 03 March 2013 - 02:26 PM

The next 2 weeks are going to be special. Adrian (US), Ricardo (Ecuador) and me Chris (Switzerland) came to Austria, more specifically to Julian's place in Innsbruck to talk about next steps, project planning and intensively work on Son of Nor together in one room.

This is what happened during the week.

  • A new 3D artist joined our team from Germany. Ruben has a lot of experience in making things look awesome and he's working on a new version of the player character. Apart from that he's got some environment tasks on his todo list.
  • We're also testing new animations Ruben added after rigging and weight painting the character.
  • After getting to know each other for the first time in real life, we installed a motion capture system in Julian's appartment. We're playing around with it to see if it could help us adding more animations faster.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjtntxprD9w

So, we're trying out iPi Soft's MoCap software (http://www.ipisoft.com/). It promises to be markerless so you can avoid expensive equipment and markers. You need 3 cameras from different directions and you have to carefully place them, reduce any background noise behind the actor and calibrate the system in a lengthy process. It works well for an image based mocap system, but it clearly has its limitations. Best would still be to have an empty room or studio that's well lit.

We first tried it outside but one needs a flashlight to calibrate the system, and sunlight was way too bright. The software didn't find the calibration signal from the flashlight. We set it up indoors, removing a lot of furniture from Julian's living room. It's not the solution to all problems. It's inexpensive (compared to normal marker-based mocap systems) but difficult to setup nonetheless. We'll see how easy it'll be to clean that mocap data as it produces a lot of jitter in the areas no camera can see (behind one's back).

Coming back to the art style discussion. Art Style 6, the style that looks a little Borderlands-ish, was one of the more popular styles, together with the original style we had until now. After having lengthy discussions internally we came to the conclusion that the art style was not really the root of the problem, the problem why the game looked old and unsatisfactory. The main problem was our lack of attention to detail. Any style will look bad if we don't go the whole 9 yards and add details with care. We tried to escape the problem and redo the art style in the hope that everything will look good in another style. But we probably did so only to land in the same spot a few weeks down the line.

The important thing is to make the world look more like a living place. We have no real plants to cover up the transition between rocks and the ground. The ground is flat and uninteresting, no grass to move in the wind. The rocks look nice but are very noisy. Our other models are functional but they don't have a style. They all look clean as if they were just built a few days ago. Lifeless. Without character. All the little things that matter. We decided to first explore our current art style more since it was popular too, to see if we can push it further. Add more character to the models, the content.

Thanks for everybody spotting this, pointing it out and giving us helpful advice on how to push on.


http://about.me/ChrisPolus - my website, music, sound design, videos and services.

I'm the
- producer of Son of Nor (devlog on gamedev.net)
- sound designer of the Arcan Chronicles

#59 ChrisPolus   Members   -  Reputation: 285

Posted 11 March 2013 - 03:34 AM

Despite the fact that we're still having our crunchy dev weeks at Julian's place and having fun, playing board games and cooking, we managed to squeeze in some great updates this week.

  • Julian coded a new obstacle: quicksand. It's very rough right now but the principle works. Now it has to be made pretty.
  • The run animation looks quite good by now!
  • The jump animation needs some tweaking but comes along nicely.
  • We made canyon walls that look great from afar and from up close. Finally we seem to be getting the hang of how to do rocks... It took quite some time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJvKDP6_ZEY


http://about.me/ChrisPolus - my website, music, sound design, videos and services.

I'm the
- producer of Son of Nor (devlog on gamedev.net)
- sound designer of the Arcan Chronicles

#60 ChrisPolus   Members   -  Reputation: 285

Posted 17 March 2013 - 10:44 AM

I don't know how many of you tried a Kickstarter campaign already but it's nearly killing us. Videos should be of such high quality in order not to make a sleepy impression and it needs to show one highlight after another. At least the videos we liked were pretty well thought through. I'm not talking about industry veterans who merely show up and immediately get millions. But what do people of whom I haven't yet heard show to catch my interest. Of course, the normal production process should not stop either, resulting in double shifts for me and Julian. Not to mention all the stuff you need to polish and build into the game to make it shine. Well, at some point I'm sure we'll be able to write up a very nice post-mortem, too. Be it of a success or a failure, we'll see. Currently we do everything we can to hopefully turn it into a success, hehe. Wish us luck.

 

What else happened.

 

  • We're experimenting with the camera's focal length to convey the vastness of the desert.
  • We created and implemented another rough jump animation.
  • There are now killer vegetables in the game. Carrots are what Sarahul's nightmares are about.
  • Lols aside, the vegetables are for a farm area at The Edge. People have to eat something.
  • Alex finished the blockout of the "Mirror Room" in the wind temple and Julian programmed the logic. Time to test, model and integrate assets.
  • Daniel created concepts for the Mirror Room.
  • We're preparing our Kickstarter campaign and we're shooting a ton of in-game and real world video. In this dev diary, you can see some of the bloopers ;)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjAoqAQrcYg


http://about.me/ChrisPolus - my website, music, sound design, videos and services.

I'm the
- producer of Son of Nor (devlog on gamedev.net)
- sound designer of the Arcan Chronicles





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